Ben-Hur

(2016)

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Title:
Ben-Hur
Release Date:
17th August 2016
Runtime:
141 min
MPAA Rating:
PG-13
Genres:
Directors:
Timur Bekmambetov
Writers:
Keith R. Clarke, Lew Wallace
Languages:
English
Stream Quality:
1080p / 720p / 480p

Storyline

The epic story of Judah Ben-Hur, a prince falsely accused of treason by his adopted brother Messala, an officer in the Roman army. Stripped of his title, separated from his family and the woman he loves, Judah is forced into slavery. After years at sea, Judah returns to his homeland to seek revenge, but an encounter with Jesus leads him to the Crucifixion, where he discovers forgiveness and finds redemption.

Ratings

Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh 28%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience 66%
IMDb Rating 5.4

Casts

Ayelet Zurer as Naomi Ben-Hur
Jack Huston as Judah Ben-Hur
Nazanin Boniadi as Esther
Toby Kebbell as Messala Severus

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by don544 21st August, 2016

Why do I do this to myself ?

One often wonders why I continue to exchange my time of life and my hard earned cash to drive to a theater to pay exorbitant or confiscatory prices so that overpaid actors , directors and other assorted persons involved in the production of cinema can continue to grow rich sucking the wealth of their victims while foisting trash on the screen. I know the the 1959 version was a remake itself but this remake of that remake shows that film makers of today have very little if any originality to add to the screen. The producers would have been better off remastering and cleaning up one of the prints from 1959 and releasing that. At least then one would have gotten a film that was worth driving to the local cinema to see. This effort stands out as an example of why people do not flock to the theater to see the trash Hollywood sends out these days, that is those of us who still have an independent thought in our heads. For those mindless individuals who still live in mommies house and can not wait to go see the latest trash it really does matter what they put out does it ?

Reviewed by Randy Cliff 19th August, 2016

Everyone will be making comparisons; see it and compare

We thoroughly enjoyed this production. Released today, we saw the matinee and were somewhat surprised at being what seemed like the youngest couple attending. You will not be disappointed with this movie. Watching a familiar story, you're waiting for unexpected items or things just plain screwed up. It didn't feel way, and while there are some plot topics that were different from my expectations, I was not bothered by them. Going to this movie my thoughts were, 1) would a 21st century version make the chariot race be more violent than necessary?, 2) would the faith portion of the story be erased down to a minor thought? 3) would I recognize the story at all? Answers in a simple style are the circus race had me close my eyes a couple of times -- I'm old enough to know how dangerous these races could become, and faith portion was well done and not overplayed presenting the truth of Jesus' life during this period, and the story was well familiar and my wife commented that portions were actually clearer than we had understood from previous versions. So well done! Comparisons: Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ is an 1880 American best selling novel. It has been a play and movie multiple times. I found the 1925 silent version of the same title a very impressive production. The 1959 movie "Ben-Hur" is the version most people are familiar with but at 3.5hrs you'll want to find a complete copy of this (and it's one my favourite movies). The '59 movie has more story than today's and the action sequences are somewhat more simplified but very impressive. This Charlton Heston version won 11 Oscars and will be the version of most people's thoughts. With Morgan Freeman being the only performer I was familiar with, Ben-Hur is great having fresh faces, amazing Italian country sides, and a well paced showing. Go and see this, and find one or two of the other movie versions and maybe the book as well -- so you can make your own comparisons. My wife believes this may now be her favourite, and I'm still committed to the 1959 version. I believe there's enough room for both versions to be enjoyed.

Reviewed by rexking410 19th August, 2016

You already know his name.

Last time I watched the Ben-Hur with Charlton Heston the thought did not cross my mind that perhaps the world needed another version of the story directed by the guy who brought us Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter and that weird movie where they make bullets bend. Anyway, the Heston version is one of my favorite movies. I saw it when I was 8 and two times when I was about 20. I love it and quote it all the time. But this is not a review of that version because (surprise!) it is not that version. This is a review of the 2016 version and I don't feel it is fair to give this movie a bad rating simply because it was an unnecessary remake. In case you are wondering, this is the sixth version of Ben-Hur. The story follows Judah Ben-Hur, a Jewish prince in Jerusalem at the time of Christ, and his adopted Roman brother Massala. They love each other but they get in the middle of an attempted assassination on a Roman leader and wind up on opposing sides. They both feel they are in the right, get in a very sticky situation, and thus begins an 5 year journey of survival, revenge, forgiveness. I liked the movie. The chariot race was thrilling. I was worried about it because the trailer showed a scene which an obvious CGI horse running through the stands. To my delight that was the only part that really used a CGI horse (that I could tell, anyway). The rest of the race was intense even though I already knew how it was going to end. The movie focuses very heavily on the relationship between Massala and Judah as well as Massala and the rest of the Hur family. Massala's intentions and actions were understandable and he wasn't just some evil man who betrayed his family. The main actors and actresses do a good (not great) job. I felt Morgan Freeman may have phoned it in a little, but he delivered one of my favorite lines of the movie. My favorite actors were the slave drivers on the galley along with the drummer. They have small roles but I loved them. I didn't care for the Jesus scenes though. He is a hard character to portray, and I just didn't like it when he spoke. I'm probably picky, but I would have preferred to hear him speak in King James English or not at all (like in the Heston version). I just felt something was off with the scenes and they could have been more powerful. Overall, I felt it was a pretty good movie that succeeds in many aspects chiefly with the themes of revenge/forgiveness and delivers one exciting race. It's not perfect but a good movie overall.

Reviewed by Daniel Ross 19th August, 2016

Another Hollywood remake...

Hollywood remakes. For every Ocean's 11, there's 10 Willy Wonkas. So here we are saddled with another previously untouchable classic getting a slickly made, soulless studio remake. But is it fair to judge it just because it's a remake? Or does it succeed on its own merits? I love the William Wyler '59 original classic, and watch it often. The quoteable lines are brilliant. "Your eyes are full of hate, 41. That's good. Hate keeps a man alive". Charlton Heston is great as Ben Hur. And that chariot race is one of the greatest action spectacles ever put on the silver screen. I just can't envisage myself re- watching this. The effects are impressive, but any tosspot on a computer can conjure up digitally creative wowzers, so that is no selling point. And the action is predictably impressive, but it's so stagnant, slick and with no standout unforgettable moment. Jack Huston brings nothing new to the role of Ben- Hur, and Morgan Freeman clearly has a new flat screen TV to pay for, so he shows up to phone it in. For the past 16 years we've seen sword & sandal epics go from fun genre revival (Gladiator) to moribund cliche (Hercules, 300 Rise of the Empire). In fact Rodrigo Santoro (Xerxes from 300) shows up as Jesus Christ this time. From Persian tyrant to Jewish prophet, now that's an improvement. I left the cinema knowing that I'll forget about this in 3 weeks. Remakes can improve on the original (The Fly, The Thing, the '59 Ben-Hur is itself a remake of an early silent B&W version). But you risk falling into trap of being so slavishly loyal to the original that to redo the film becomes pointless (Pyscho). I can't recommend paying full cinema price. Stay at home and watch the '59 original. On the small screen, Chuck Heston commands a stronger presence than anyone in this large screen bore.

Reviewed by zandernat-1 18th August, 2016

Huston Did a Beautiful Work of This

Huston conveyed emotion, remorse, rage, resignation and relief with depth and the effortlessness of truth: each won by long years of pain or the grace of an instant. A sort of well, dare I say 'goodness' seems to emanate from the man. He is blithely naive, callow, filled with talent and care for his fellow man and beasts. A mantle of grace rests upon him....you can feel it. I would give his performance 10 stars. In fact, I do. The film, however... I do not like the inclusion of contemporary music in historical settings. It grates at the suspension of disbelief required to be lost in the time and place being brought to life. It holds the entire narrative up against a shadow puppet screen and says 'remember, this isn't real.' That's not what I want. Contemporary music plays at the close of the film, I recall. Also, the costuming.... they didn't get away with the use of polyester fabrics ~ particularly with metallic elements. They could be seen and were glaring anachronisms, particularly in the women's clothing and in the beginning scenes. Again, jarring to one wishing to believe he is indeed looking upon the time roughly corresponding with the beginning of our calendar system. The costuming recovers, however. Huston's tunics and attire are flawless. But what about Freeman's Tuareg clothing? Was he a Moor? A Tuareg? An Amazight? They might have made it more clear which sort of African he represented. The film is worth seeing. It is stirring. It touches the depths of suffering and sorrow and leaves an impression if not a few tears.